RETURNING FAVORITES
TV Guide Magazine|September 13–26, 2021
The shows you love are back with a bang-also a baby, a Bill & Ted spoof and so much romance. Will Law & Order deliver on that front?
Ileane Rudolph

Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni get it. Law & Order fans have spent two decades clamoring for their characters-Special Victims Unit's Capt. Olivia Benson and Organized Crime's Det. Elliot Stabler-to get together. There's too much chemistry for the former NYPD partners not to, right?

"It's undefinable, but you know it when you feel it," Meloni says of the pair's magic, adding, "For me personally, one of its main cornerstones is humor." Hargitay concurs, adding, “I think the mutual love, respect, chemistry and trust between these two characters creates a unique bond."

The stars couldn't resist playfully trolling the #Bensler community in late August by posting a provocative "rehearsal" pic of a near-kiss between the characters. Their bantering tweets ("It's getting hot in here," she commented) only inflamed the frenzy. And the dream of a more romantic bond seems at least possible now that Meloni, after a decade away, has returned as the tragically widowed Stabler on SVU's Thursday mate, Organized Crime.

Heightening the excitement, last season Stabler blurted "I love you"-seemingly to Benson-as she and his children staged an intervention to get him to deal with his PTSD over the loss of his wife, Kathy. “It was deliberately [left] open to interpretation," the actor says, admitting that the “rich, unexpected" scene was one of his favorites. In fact, Organized Crime's scripts have been subtly advancing the relationship: Meloni acknowledges that the two are playing "deeply emotional and deeply connected scenes that were not part of our [original] relationship on SVU.

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